Glasgow & West Scotland

Ronnie Coulter appeals against 1998 Surjit Singh Chhokar murder conviction

Ronnie Coulter Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Ronnie Coulter was given a mandatory life term for murdering Mr Chhokar

A man jailed for life after being tried for a second time for the murder of Surjit Singh Chhokar is to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Last month, Ronnie Coulter, 48, was ordered to spend a minimum of 19 years and eight months in prison for stabbing the 32-year-old waiter in Overton, North Lanarkshire, in 1998.

His retrial came as a result of changes to Scotland's double jeopardy laws.

Coulter has now lodged a notice of his intention to appeal.

The 48-year-old from Wishaw was originally cleared of stabbing Mr Chhokar following a trial in 1999.

In October this year, he was convicted of murder by majority verdict following a four-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

It was only the second time in Scottish legal history that an accused had been tried twice for the same crime. The other saw Angus Sinclair convicted of the World's End murders.

Image caption Surjit Singh Chhokar was stabbed to death in North Lanarkshire in 1998

The trial heard that Ronnie Coulter, his nephew Andrew Coulter and another man, David Montgomery, went to see Mr Chhokar on 4 November 1998 following a row over a stolen £100 Giro cheque.

After an altercation, Mr Chhokar collapsed in front of his partner Liz Bryce.

He was stabbed three times in the chest and one of the blows pierced his heart, resulting in his death from massive blood loss.

The successful prosecution of Coulter followed a lengthy campaign for justice by the Chhokar family and their lawyer Aamer Anwar.

Commenting on news of the appeal, Mr Anwar said: "As far as the Chhokar family are concerned, justice has been done.

"Mr Coulter should come to terms with the fact that he has spent many years avoiding punishment for his crime.

"But he should also remember that nothing will ever bring back Surjit and the family hope his appeal is refused."

Passing sentence on Coulter last month, judge Lord Matthews said Mr Chhokar was the victim of "an ambush which cost him his life".

A spokesman for the Judicial Office for Scotland said: "A notice of intention to appeal against conviction and sentence was lodged on 11 November."

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